Driving Perioperative Nutrition Quality Improvement Processes Forward!

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Abstract

Evidence supporting the important role of nutrition therapy in surgical patients has evolved, with several randomized trials and meta-analyses of randomized trials clearly demonstrating benefits. Despite this evidence, surgeons and anesthesiologists have been slow to adopt recommended practices, and the traditional dogma of delaying the initiation of and restricting the amount of nutrition during the postoperative period persists. Consequently, the nutrition therapy received by surgical patients remains suboptimal; thus, patients suffer worse clinical outcomes. Knowledge translation (KT) describes the process of moving evidence learned from clinical research, and summarized in clinical practice guidelines, to its incorporation into clinical and policy decision making. In this paper, we apply Graham et al’s knowledge-to-action model to illuminate our understanding of the issues pertinent to KT in surgical nutrition. We illustrate various components of this model using empirically derived research, commentaries, and published studies from both critical care and surgical nutrition. Barriers to improving surgical nutrition practice may be related to (1) the nature of the underlying evidence and clinical practice guidelines; (2) guideline implementation factors; (3) characteristics of the health system, hospital, and surgical team; (4) provider attitudes and beliefs; and (5) patient factors (eg, type of surgery, underlying disease, and nutrition status). Interventions tailored to overcoming these barriers must be developed, evaluated, and implemented. A system of audit and feedback must guide this process and evaluate improvements over time so that every patient undergoing major surgery will have the opportunity to be optimally assessed and managed according to best nutrition practices. (JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37:83S-98S)

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